What type of aptitude tests exist ?

Aptitude tests have been observed to be a highly accurate tool for selection of the right candidate as compared to the interview, group discussion, written tests and so on. Based on this assumption, today an increasing number of organizations include this tool in their recruitment process. The aptitude tests thus used are specifically designed tests to measure the ability to acquire/ apply skills and/or knowledge to a specific type of job. These skills are usually identified when the vacancy is announced and the test is then engineered to identify the best fit candidate independent of their formal knowledge base. There are a wide variety of aptitude tests such as:
  • Verbal - this type of testing measures critical verbal reasoning which maybe important is sales/ marketing when verbosity can motivate a consumer to accept a sale, or change a from a brand to another
  • Numerical - this is specifically significant in banking, insurance and related fields where numbers and reasoning with numbers make the core of the business/ job at hand
  • Clerical - this tests measures the ability of the candidate to notice mistakes. The whole purpose of a clerk is to keep things smooth and accurate - hence the tests are designed to measure speed and accuracy as well as 'the eye for it' in identifying mistakes
  • Sensory - this test is for people where coordination of color, sound and visual acuity is important - such as textiles, interior decoration, automobile industry, etc
  • Spatial ability - these types of tests is generally for those who choose a career in space such as astronauts or related careers
  • Mechanical ability - these tests are designed to gauge how astute and fast the candidate can interpret and solve problems related to mechanical faults; engineers are usually game for the mechanical ability tests
  • Diagrammatic dexterity - this implies testing of logical reasoning using pictures and diagrams instead of text or numbers

Each of these tests are designed to test a certain skill or ability to apply that skill to the job in question by the candidate. It is extremely unlikely that one would be expected to undergo more than three-four tests - particularly relevant to the job for which they are interviewed.

Why are aptitude tests used?
As mentioned above, aptitude tests are used as diagnostic or identifying tools. The score you get will tell your prospective employer whether you are compatible with the job they advertised or not, and if so to what extent you can be trainable to be a close-to-perfect employee. Since the aptitude tests are recognized as a highly accurate means to pinpoint fit of skills and ability, your score will be counted as an important component of the overall score in the selection process.

Many organizations use the aptitude tests as the first qualifying criteria so only those who pass it can proceed further into the selection machinery.

In other words, aptitude tests are used as a cut-off technique in a selection process, and/or a tool to identify the best possible candidate for a given job.